Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Government has made a passionate plea to the federal government for assistance to enable it tackle problems that have arisen as a result of flooding of some riverine communities in the state.
The most recent flood disaster occurred at Rafin Gora village, where 13 lives were lost, several houses destroyed and scores of hectares of cultivated farmlands submerged by the flood.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, while on a sympathy visit to the affected community, said the disaster was enormous, adding that the state did not have the human and financial resources to address it.
“We require urgent federal government assistance and intervention to address the various ecological challenges facing this state, the most recent being at Rafin Gora in Kontagora Local Government Area.
“From what I have seen today, it appears we have to act sooner than later. Unfortunately there has been loss of lives here. The havoc here is a very serious one. But like we said this is definitely beyond our resources at the state level,” he said.
Governor Bello said an official request for assistance and support had been sent to the federal government, adding that the federal government had already sent officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to the area to assess the situation.
“We have reached out to the Federal Government to get their support. I learnt the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been here to assess the damage and I believe when we partner with the federal government we will find a lasting solution to this disaster,” he said.
However, the governor said the state government had taken preemptive measures by mobilising the people to move away from the flood-prone areas to “safer ground”.
The governor attributed the cause of the disaster to lack of concrete drainage and the weakness of the embarkment of a nearby irrigation scheme to the community.
“I reliably gathered that the incident here at Rafin Gora was caused by heavy downpour which led to mud sliding and this huge gully erosion. Lack of concrete drainage further worsen the situation.
“I also want to believe the weak embarkment of a nearby irrigation scheme may have caused a lot of water to overflow during the raining season, thereby causing incalculable damage to this community,” the governor stated.
He then directed that communities especially those along the river banks and flood-prone areas should be conscious and proactive by relocating to safe and upper land during this raining season.